Halloween is not always about trick or treating. While it may be fun for some to go chasing after ghosts, others may well be preparing for that last harvest before winter sets in. In what I like watching are ghost hunting cartoons. It beats trying to find them for real, since there’s no proof positive method for an experience. As for what lurks in that cornfield, well….
What I offer is a list of animated series I often like to revisit as the nights get cold, and I don’t want to go out. The theme for this year is a list of ghostbusting style cartoons. Sometimes, peace with the supernatural can be made. At other times, they are chance to communicate. While the best thing is to work out those grievances, mileage will vary depending on the creator’s beliefs on whether to preach or simply entertain. By that definition, I begin with the series that inspired this top ten, which begins after talking about The Real Ghostbusters!
This unofficial sequel about New York’s finest paranormal investigators is just good ol’ fashioned fun! And what makes this series shine is in how the stories show how they function as a team, deal with personal issues and resolve those conflicts.
Although there are a few episodes which bring back some recurring nasties, namely The Boogieman and Samhain, these spectres are so powerful, they often need help. Because the series wasn’t designed to be a serial, there’s no grande plan. When considering the official Ghostbusters YouTube page often adds to or prunes the list of episodes, perhaps there is a huge story arc to be found. Only the dedicated may find it!
Not to be confused with the other series, this cartoon did it stranger and had different technology which I’m sure Egon Spengler would love to reverse engineer.
Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. are the leads in this unusual team up which includes a talking gorilla (named Tracy), a time-traveller (conveniently named Futura) and a news reporter (Jessica). The series concept may sound like they have ripped it from He-man, but the concept works. This group often fought a lich who wanted to take over the mortal world.
Scooby-Doo, The Definitive Must See Series Set-List
It’s not easy to say which series was best. My choice is the classic Scooby-Doo! Where Are You (available on Amazon Prime) and Mystery Incorporated (ibid). The latter delivers the perfect serialised format to an otherwise standalone episodic series, and 13 Ghosts which puts Daphne Blake at the helm.
But for fans of the Hex Girls, who sometimes make an appearance due to a Halloween event in the series, The Witch’s Ghost and Legend of the Vampire are highly recommended! The fact they are included in various series also shows fans love them! Hopefully the rumours of their own series will finally manifest.
This adaptation of the French comic book differs from its original, and although the series is more about the teenage comedy than the terror, it had its moments. It’s not your usual toon either when the adventures put the team in danger. This production was made in Canada and although the dub changed locations around, referring to various cities around this country, it’s amusing to compare scripts.
Although it suffers from formulaic writing and it has to follow a template with the reuse of cut scenes for transitions, the show is enjoyable for those wanting to watch a brother and sister team deal with the paranormal! And they have a caveman to act as muscle!
Archie’s Weird Mysteries
Although this series was developed to be something different from Scooby-Doo, there’s no denying that the two share a few similarities. What makes this series stand out is that it tested the waters for a darker spin of the Archie mythos.
In later years, readers got the Afterlife with Archie series to start, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Jughead: The Hunger and Vampironica quickly followed. Technically, the former didn’t inspire the other. Back then, the publishing company had a different board of directors in charge. They want this IP to work with the times, and it’s terrific they stay up to date!
Goober and the Ghost Chasers
To say this cartoon is a carbon copy of Scooby-Doo is an understatement. Although there’s only three paranormal wannabe sleuths in this version with their hound named Goober, the big difference between Fred and company to the gang of Ted, Gilly and Tina is in what they got to chase down ghosts with. The former have some funky equipment The Real Ghostbusters would love to get their hands on and the latter only have their wits (and Fred’s traps).
As for what makes this series special is that it often had cameos from the Patridge Family, a popular sitcom for its time, and if that isn’t scary (or cool) enough, they meet up with some classic spooks of yore!
Not to be confused with the live-action series of the same name, this cartoon follows the teenage adventures of Leo San Juan as he tries to save his home from the supernatural. In Mexico, it’s common to believe in the supernatural. And while they may think Día de Muertos is a walk in the park, their everyday life is much worse! It’s a terrific series which deserves a home video release. Maybe one day that will come. Thankfully, this series and its sequel, subtitled Masters of Myth, are on Netflix.
Victor and Valentino
Thankfully, the list of Mexican cartoons is not limited to just one. In this take, two half-brothers have to deal with the bizarre goings-on in their hometown of Monte Macabre. What makes this series work is that their grandmother doesn’t exactly dote over her grandkids. Plus, their goth-girl buddy, Charlene, just makes the kooky even more brooding.
GeGeGe no Kitaro
No list can be complete without this classic anime. When all of Japan has this brave kid who has an eyeball companion as a companion, they should be safe.
Kitaro has been entertaining readers and viewers since 1960, and has been active in protecting humanity from yokai and obake for decades! The original publication run lasted for 10 years and due to this series massive popularity, it was made into an animated series and films in later years. Kodansha republished this series in English, and select films/series can be found on select streaming services.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami
The 90s introduced to western audiences a myriad of franchises, and out of them all, Ghost Sweeper Mikami stood out.
That’s because this heroine not only knows how to fight but also what’s right for yokai but obake too! Mikami runs a company that specialises in performing exorcisms, and while this term is used loosely, what she does is sweet. She can either banish those entities that are truly evil or provide a means for those docile entities to simply cross over.
Although the manga never got an official English release, at least the anime is available on YouTube.
This Filipino made animation on Netflix deserves mention as an original video animation comprising six episodes. There are aspects of the story to love, and it’s best summed up in the official plot synopsis: “When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.”